Thursday, July 26, 2018

Marriage Tips For Men Part V: What To Do When You Can't Fix It

Dedicated By Dr. Ezra and Lauren Kest 
In honor of Dr. Leon and Rochelle Brooks 
Who teach us how to navigate the world b'simcha. They should be blessed with good mental and physical health for many years to come, enjoying their beautiful family and all the fruits of their labor.

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In a marriage, it is possible for there to be hard times. Sometimes the difficulties can be dealt with and other times they are insurmountable. In my life there are insurmountable difficulties, and it is not just me that has to deal with the hurt, my wife Dina probably has the brunt of the hurt, difficulties and anguish. In our case, it is dealing with a sick spouse, which means that not only does she have to take care of me, but she is also taking care of the family. On top of that, everything I used to do, has now fallen on her shoulders as well. To make it all worse, being that I can't move, she doesn't have the comfort that normally comes with touch, that a normal husband can provide for his wife, so that can make her feel alone, and it is worse, because I am right there. 

We recognize that our situation, as bad as it is, it is not the worst. Because for starters, I am here, and I get to be part of the family. Also, my wife and children have a husband and father that loves them, although it is expressed in a limited way. There are far more difficult situations than ours. For example, childlessness, having a child who is sick or the passing of a child, etc. But we have to realize that everyone has difficulties, and for some reason, the way Hashem created the world, a person's personal problems are all consuming. It doesn't matter how big or small, we all have some issues that cannot be fixed. 

The first thing to know, is that a person's problem should not be brushed aside as small, even though in contrast to another's problem, it may sound petty, and downright meaningless. Because it is their problem, and to them, it's big. 

Sometimes you have the ability to deal with an issue and fix it, but other times the difficulties are unfixable, and heartbreaking. What are you to do in those cases? And what should you not do? How can you help your wife deal with the difficulties and heartbreak, when you might be suffering as well? How can you be a good husband, in unfixable situations? 

I don't claim to have all the answers, I certainly do not. And every woman is different, so different things will bring them comfort. I can only give you some basic rules, and you, knowing your wife, will have to bridge the gap and find a way to help her. 

I use the word help, because it is her life and you can't make her happy. You can only help in the process, or refrain from doing things that will make her unhappy. But it is not your soul responsibility to make her happy, she has the major part in that, and there are some people, who by nature are unhappy. 

Here are a few things that will help. Being a guy, I am not sure why they work, but they do. I guess women are just different. 

Don't Try To Fix It 

Women, like men, have inner struggles and inhibitions, and that is their nature, it is part of who they are. If you try to fix your wife's inner struggles and inhibitions, you are trying to change her, and that means that you are not happy with who she is. In a sense you are saying that you don't like her, so it will backfire on you and she will become more unhappy. 

For men, there is us and our problems, and they are two separate things, that is why we love to fix our problems. However with women, their inner struggles and inhibitions, is part of who they are, and they rather learn to live with themselves, than deny who they are, because it is betraying themselves. Only your wife, can choose to change who she is, and if and when she does, be there to support her in her endeavor. 

If there is a tragedy that you both are facing, don't make light of it, and don't fake being happy. Just let it be what it is, and be comforting. 

How To Be Comforting 

Understand Her 

Listen to her and understand what she is feeling and going through. To her, if you don't take the time to understand what she is feeling and going through, you simply don't care about her, and you are making light of the issue. This will bring her to be more hurt and resent you. Just listen and understand, and feel her pain, this itself will give her a lot of comfort. 

Be With Her In Her Pain 

Being that there isn't much you can actually do to help the situation, you should do the few things that you can. One of the things that you can do, is to be with her and be available to her in her pain. 

If you suffer with her, she won't be alone, and that will help her deal with the hurt, because it is easier to go through it with someone else. 

If you try to cheer her up, you will probably fail, instead, allow her to feel what she is feeling, and let her know that you are there for her when she needs you. This way, her feelings are respected, and validated, and that is comforting. And because she knows that you are there for her when she needs you, it will be comforting as well. 

What does it mean to be there for her? To listen to her vent her feelings and to be vulnerable enough to cry with her. 

Physical Comfort 

You should know what physical expressions bring your wife comfort and a feeling of being together in harmony, and satisfy that need. 

It could be a gesture as well, that makes her feel loved and cherished. Small or big, if the gesture is done lovingly, and sincerely, it will bring her comfort, at least momentarily. Momentary comfort has value. 

Make Sure That She Has The Time And The Means To Take Care Of Herself 

It is common that in this situation, your wife will be so involved, that she will neglect her own needs, and her emotional and physical energy will become depleted. If this happens, all of the challenges she is facing will become magnified, and the pain she will feel inside will be unbearable. 

Help her set things up, that she will be taken care of. Work things out, that she will have the time and resources necessary to take care of herself. Meaning, the right foods and supplements, and things that make her feel like a mentch, like clothing and beauty needs. Things that will relieve the tension that builds up in her body, like time at the spa, massages, etc. A vacation to a place that makes her feel happy, and a retreat from all the problems. In other words, give her a chance to feel like a mentch. 

If she is already depleted and at the end of her rope, then you have to arrange what is necessary, immediately. Once she is feeling a little better, you can plan to make sure it doesn't happen again. However, life isn't perfect, in these situations, you will have ups and downs, and you will have to be flexible and take the punches as they come. 

Sometimes she will just need something small to lift her spirits. If you know what makes her feel good, then arrange it. For example, if she likes to watch the waves at the beach, send her there. If there is another place that makes her feel good, send her there. If all fails, new shoes and chocolate usually help for a quick pick-me-up, whatever you know that works you should do. You might think that it is silly, but if it works it works. You might think that it will be short lived, but momentary comfort has value. 

When Nothing Is Going To Work 

There are sometimes that you can tell, that nothing will work. Even the thought that chocolate or shoes will help, is insulting. In that case, be there for her and recognize that it's an impossible situation. Remind her of who she is, and take her to a place that makes her feel close to Hashem. A place that is beautiful and serene, where she can melt and become one with the world that Hashem created. 

The Power Of Music 

There are sometimes that the heart goes numb, and nothing seems to penetrate it. In that case, music, the language of the soul, could be the best way thaw a frozen heart. So if you know the kind of music your wife likes, or the song that gets to her, turn it on.

It is truly amazing, how music can help. How many people have said, that music is what got them through the most difficult of times. It really works, and if it works for your wife, use it.

A Project 

When things are unfixable and it seems that it will stay that way for a long time, barring some miracle, breakthrough, or the coming of Moshiach. It is a good idea for your wife to be involved in something that she likes, something that will take her mind off the pain. It could be anything that she likes. 

In this case, your job is to be supportive of what she is doing. Your support will be a comfort to her. 

My Final Words On The Subject 

After all this, there are times that I see Dina falling apart, I see that the suffering is unbearable, and there is nothing that I can do or say. Sometimes I know that it is so bad that she has no tears left to cry, and she is beyond the end. There are times that I am paralyzed and unable to do anything to help her. It breaks my heart to see her suffering and hurting, and feeling alone. Because I can't do anything, I just cry, and ask Hashem to help us. I never make light of her pain, I know it’s real and raw and excruciating, but I also know that she will bounce back and I am always so relieved and happy when she does. 

May Hashem take away the pain and suffering from all of us, may He take away the reason for our suffering, this dark and bitter exile, when "Hashem will erase the tears from upon every face." May it happen soon.

I want to thank my wife Dina, for her help writing this article. I couldn't have done it without you. 

Marriage Tips For Men Part III: What to say to your wife and how to say it 
Marriage Tips For Men Part IV: Making A Home   

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Shabbos, The Light In The Darkness

This week’s dvar Torah is dedicated in honor of 
Sol and Clara Kest of blessed memory 
Who were pillars of chesed and were instrumental in building many Torah institutions in Los Angeles and the world over

Dedicated by Dr. Ezra and Mrs. Lauren Kest
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This week's parsha, Devarim, is always read the Shabbos before Tisha B'Av, and sometimes on Tisha B'Av itself, when it falls on Shabbos. What is the significance of Devarim? And why is it connected to Tisha B'Av? 

The Talmud tells us that the book of Devarim, was said by Moshe, "from his own mouth." In other words, Hashem didn't dictate it word for word, as He did for the first four books of the Torah, rather, Moshe said it in his own words. Not that he said his own ideas, Tosafos explains, that he said it with "divine inspiration," which is prophecy. 

The Rambam says, that if someone says about even one word of the Torah, that Moshe said it from his own thoughts, he is considered a heretic. In other words, the book of Devarim was also said by Hashem, just the transmission was in a different way. Whereas the first four books were dictated by Hashem, the book of Devarim entered the mind of Moshe as prophecy, and the word of Hashem came "through Moshe's throat." 

There are many levels of prophecy, and Moshe had the highest possible level. About his prophecy, it says, "There never arose another prophet in Israel like Moshe, whom Hashem knew face to face." His prophecy had another advantage over others, in that others saw their visions as a metaphor, on the other hand, Moshe had clear and direct visions, he saw exactly what he was meant to convey, or what was going to happen, not a metaphor. 

With the book of Devarim, a new system of transmission of Hashem's word began. Until this point Moshe was a messenger, relaying Hashem's words, but now His word would enter Moshe's mind and it would come out of "his own mouth." And this is the way the word of Hashem came through the ages ever since, first through the prophets, then the sages of the Mishnah, Talmud, and the sages of every generation. And this is the way it continues to come to us to this very day. As our sages say, "Everything that a seasoned scholar will innovate in Torah in the future, was all given to Moshe from Sinai." Meaning, that even today, the innovations and enactments of our great Torah scholars, are Torah from Sinai, the word of Hashem. 

In the book of Devarim, there are new teachings as well as teachings that give clarity to things that are taught in the first four books of the Torah, and without them, we wouldn't understand the first four books. We may gather from this, that the whole Torah hinges on Moshe's words in the book of Devarim. By extension, the same may be said for the sages of every generation, "The part of Moshe that was spread into every generation," who innovate and explain the Torah. If we don't believe in them, and if we don't follow their edicts, we question the validity of the Torah. This is what the Midrash says on the verse, "They believed in Hashem, and in Moshe his servant." That one who believes in the faithful shepherd (Moshe), it is as if he believes in Hashem, and one who speaks against the faithful shepherd, it is as if he speaks against Hashem. 

The book of Devarim, was said to the generation that was to enter the Holy Land. This will help us understand why it had to be said through Moshe. The first four books of the Torah, were said to the generation of the desert, who were totally separate from worldly matters, they lived a spiritual life and didn't have to be invested in the physical world. Therefore, they were able to receive the direct words of Hashem, Moshe was just the messenger to convey His exact words. However, the generation entering the land, would have to contend and struggle with the physical world, they wouldn't be able to handle the direct words of Hashem. Being in the physical, they would need the Torah to come to them through the physical. By the word of Hashem entering Moshe's mind, and being expressed "from his own mouth," it was coming through the physical. 

As the generations got further and further away from that point, they became more and more enwrapped in the physical world, and the more the word of Hashem garbed itself in the physical, through the words and enactments of our Torah scholars. Not just any Torah scholars, but those who are accepted by the Jewish people as Torah leaders. 

There is a positive aspect of the generation entering the land, over the generation of the desert. Even though they experienced the revelation of Hashem regularly, the generation of the desert were not privy to His essence. The essence of Hashem is drawn into the world specifically through the physical, because it is in the physical that He desires to be. Through our Torah study and performance of mitzvahs in the physical world, we draw the essence of Hashem. The further the generation, the more we are in the physical and the more of His essence we can draw. Until the final generation before the coming of Moshiach, us, who will draw the completeness of His essence, and Moshiach will come. 

In a way, the book of Devarim is the greatest of the five. Because it enables us to bring the first four, that were said to the lofty and spiritual generation of the desert, into the physical world, and accomplish their purpose. 

It is the innovations in Torah and the enactments of the Torah scholars of the last generation, that makes Moshiach come. Because it is those last enactments, the words of Hashem to the final generation, that completes the Torah of Moshe from Sinai, and they are the specific actions necessary, to strike the last blow, and bring the exile to an end. 

The Three Weeks are the darkest time on the Jewish calendar. Within the Three Weeks, Tisha B'Av is the darkest day, the day that we were thrown into the exile. 

The Shabbosim in the Three Weeks are Hashem's "preemption of the cure before the infliction." As they are an oasis, a taste of Moshiach, in this dark time. Shabbos is so holy, that we are not allowed to show any sign of mourning on it, instead, we have to be happy and take pleasure in the day. On the Shabbosim of the Three Weeks, we add in joy, so as to not be seen as mourning in any way. 

This idea is also found in Jewish law. The Rebbe's father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, was the chief rabbi of Yekaterinoslav, modern day Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. There was a man who regularly wore slippers on Shabbos. In the week that he was sitting shiva, Reb Levik instructed him to wear shoes on Shabbos, so that it won't look as if he was mourning. 

On Shabbos there is no exile, it reminds us that the whole exile is merely a preparation for the time of Moshiach. And because these Shabbosim are contrasted against the darkness of the Three Weeks, their light shines brighter than the Shabbosim of the rest of the year. 

Understandably, the last Shabbos of the Three Weeks, which falls before Tisha B'Av or on Tisha B'Av itself, is the Shabbos in the darkest possible time. Therefore it shines brighter than any other Shabbos, it is the ultimate "preemption of the cure before the infliction." Therefore, the parsha of Devarim, the beginning of the book of Devarim, which makes it possible for us to draw Hashem's essence into the physical world and bring Moshiach, is read on this Shabbos. Because it is in essence, the cure to the exile. 

We are the last generation, we will merit to bring Moshiach. May the merit of our Torah and mitzvahs, hasten his coming. And may we soon see these dark days of the Three Weeks, turn into days of joy, and Tisha B'Av into the most festive holiday. May it happen now, before Tisha B'Av. The time has come. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Loving Another For No Reason Will Bring Moshiach

Dedicated By Dr. Ezra and Lauren Kest
In the zechus of a Refua Shelaima for Chaim Pinchas Meyer Ben Leah 

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In this week's parsha, Matos, Hashem commands Moshe, to go to war against Midian. "And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying, 'Take revenge for the Children of Israel against the Midianites, afterwards, you will (die and) be gathered to your people.' Moshe spoke to the people, saying, 'Arm (Heichaltzu) from among you men for the army, that they can do battle against Midian, and carry out the revenge of Hashem (Havaya) against Midian. You shall send a thousand from every tribe, from all the tribes of Israel.'"

There are some difficulties in these verses. 

Why is the war against Midian connected to Moshe's passing? It seems from the verse, "afterwards, you will be gathered to your people," that for some reason, this war had to be done specifically through Moshe, and that it was necessary for him to do this for the completion of his soul's mission in this world. Why is the war against Midian connected to Moshe? 

What was the purpose of this war? It was not to acquire their land, Midian was not part of the land of Israel, it was not one of the seven nations of Canaan. We have to understand, what was the purpose of this war? 

When Hashem commanded Moshe, He said that it is "revenge for the Children of Israel against Midian." However, when Moshe said it to the Jewish people, he said that it is "the revenge of Hashem (Havaya) against Midian." Is it the Children of Israel's revenge or Hashem's? Why would it be Hashem's revenge? What the Midianites did, wasn't against Hashem, it was against the Jewish people, He even said, that the reason for the war was, "because they were hostile to you (the Children of Israel)." Rashi says, that it is the same, if you go against the Jewish people, you are going against Hashem. This is true, but from Moshe's words, "the revenge of Hashem (Havaya) against Midian," it seems that it is personal to Hashem, and specifically to His name Havaya. We have to understand, why the war against Midian is personal to Hashem and specifically to His name Havaya? 

Moshe's words to the Jewish people are grammatically incorrect. "Arm (Heichaltzu) from among you," the word "Heichaltzu" indicates that it is referring to everybody, that everyone should arm themselves. But the verse continues, "from among you," and the following verse says, "a thousand from every tribe," meaning, that it was a specific few, not everyone. It would make more sense to say, "yeichaltzu," which would be referring to some and not all, rather than, "Heichaltzu." Why does it say Heichaltzu? 

Another question. On the words, "from all the tribes of Israel," Rashi says, "To include the tribe of Levi." The tribe of Levi was usually exempt from going to war, because they were in the service of Hashem. Why did they go out to this war? 

The word Midian, comes from the word madon, which means strife or argument. Midian is the essence of separation and divisiveness, their hate is for no reason, they just can't stand the other, their mere existence is an affront to Midian. As we see from the story itself, Israel had no intention to conquer Midian, and Midian knew it. But they tried again and again to start with the Jewish people. First, through Ballam and then they sent their own daughters to defile themselves, and bring the Jewish men to sink to a low. 

While the seven nations of Canaan represent the seven negative emotions that we must conquer, Midian is not a part of them. Because the seven negative emotions are conquerable, like someone who has a reason for disliking another, if the reason is removed, so is the hatred. However, with Midian there is no reason, it is blatant hatred. They are not one of the seven, but rather the essence and the core of all evil, hatred and divisiveness, and all of the other seven negative emotions emanate from it. Therefore, it is not to be conquered, but destroyed. 

The name Havaya represents the diametric opposite of Midian. It is all about inclusion and unity. It is what creates the world and allows it to exist, seemingly as an entity of its own. Although it is much higher than existence and would make sense to be separate, the opposite is true, it is what unifies all of existence. 

The same is true about everything holy, it unifies, and if it doesn't, it is not holy. The opposite is true for the unholy, it serves as a divider, creating strife and argument wherever it goes. It is an agent of hatred and divisiveness. 

So Midian is not just bad, it is the antithesis to the name Havaya, it is the antithesis to His Torah, His purpose of creation. And because we were put here to fulfill His purpose, it is the antithesis to the Jewish people as well. 

How do we oppose this great evil? It is specifically through Moshe. About Moshe it says, "And the man Moshe was the humblest from any person on the face of the earth." It is humility and self nullification, that makes room for another and unifies. Therefore, it is Moshe that has to wage this war, and it is the completion of his soul's mission, because this is the essence of Moshe, to unify through humility and self nullification. 

This is true for all of us. We each have to be unifiers through humility and self nullification, to allow for the other to exist and thrive. We can do it, because we each have a little bit of Moshe inside of us, which gives us the ability to be humble and strengthens us to follow through and unify ourselves and Hashem's world. 

Now we can understand why the tribe of Levi went to war as well. Because this war was not for capturing land, or to gain the spoils of the battle. The reason for the war was for Hashem. Being that the tribe of Levi was only to serve Hashem, they went to war. Even more, perhaps we could say, that they were the most important tribe in the war. Sent by Moshe, a Levi, and lead by Pinchas from the tribe of Levi. 

It is possible for someone to hate at this level, blatant hatred for no reason. The source of this hatred is the person's big ego, it is not that the other person did anything to him or to anybody else, it's just that his ego is so big that there is no room for anyone else, so he is filled with hatred. He might have a reason for disliking the other, but it is not real, the reason came after the hatred. He manufactured the reason to justify his blatant hatred, and to make him feel righteous. 

This is especially bad when the person is a Torah scholar, because if his ego is in the way, he is not able to get to the truth of the Torah. In order to come to the truth of Torah, one must be humble, so he listen to another's opinion, and even consider that he might be wrong. Even worse, with his big ego, self-righteousness, and holier-than-thou attitude, he could lead others astray, and he could influence others to hate as well. This is the opposite of what Hashem wants, and the opposite of holiness. 

Another problem with having a big ego. A Jew has to be able to hear what his friend is telling him, and he has to be able to confide in another, because how else would he know that he is on the right path. If his ego is inflated, he will be too full of himself, to listen or confide in another, because "What does he know?" "Why would I listen to him?" 

now we can understand why Moshe said, "Heichaltzu," meaning, everyone. Because on a deeper level, this is a war that we all must wage. We all must destroy our egos, the Midian inside of us. 

Matos is always read during the Three Weeks, when both of our Temples were destroyed. Our sages tell us, that the first Temple was destroyed because of idolatry, adultery and murder. And the second Temple was destroyed because of blatant hatred. The first exile, following the destruction of the first Temple, lasted seventy years, the present exile, which followed the destruction of the second Temple, has gone on for almost two thousand years. We must conclude, that what put us into this exile is worse than what put us in the first exile. In other words, to Hashem, hatred for no reason is worse than the big three, idolatry, adultery and murder. 

What is the remedy for this exile? What is the key to bringing Moshiach? It is humility and self nullification, that will make you a unifier and it will bring you to love another for no reason, the opposite of what destroyed the Temple. This is what Hashem wants most, and this is the key to bringing Moshiach. May he come soon. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

You Can Change The World

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In this week's parsha, Pinchas, we read about how the land of Israel was to be divided. Hashem said, that it must be through a lottery, "Only through a lottery should you divide the land," "According to the lottery should you divide the inheritance," "And you should inherit the land through a lottery," 

Rashi explains how the lottery was done. Israel was divided into twelve regions, and they were each written on lots. The names of each of the twelve tribes were written on lots as well. Elazar the Kohen Gadol, with the help of the Urim V'tumim, would say prophetically which tribe would be designated which region. Then the prince of the tribe would pick two lots and they would be the same as Elazar prophesied, one would say the name of the tribe, and the other would say the boundaries of the region. The lots would miraculously call out. "I, the lot of such-and-such a region, have become the inheritance to such-and-such a tribe." 

There is a rule, that Hashem doesn't do miracles for no reason. If they had Elazar's prophecy, and the lots, wasn't that enough of a confirmation that it was from Hashem? Why did the lots have to call out, "I, the lot..."? 

This question becomes stronger, when you consider the fact that the whole lottery was not a thing for itself, but rather a means to another end, the main thing was conquering and dividing the land. It seems so unnecessary to have this miracle. What does this miracle add? 

Ultimately, every Jewish person has a portion in the land. 

There is a story of the Tzemach Tzedek, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the third Rebbe of Chabad Lubavitch. A Chassid, wanted to travel to Israel, it was around the turn of the 19th century, and the journey was a very difficult one. The Rebbe said to him, "mach da eretz Yisrael," (make this place into Israel). 

This story was told by the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, and being that he said it to the whole community, it means that the idea of, "make this place into Israel," applies to all of us. 

This is difficult to understand. The greatest way of doing mitzvahs, is specifically in the land of Israel, we pray towards Israel, and we pray to be able to be in Israel with the coming of Moshiach over and over again. So why should we make this place, which seems to mean in the diaspora, into Israel? 

When this story was told, there were already many Jews who were living in Israel, which means that it applies to them as well. How does one living in Israel, accomplish making their place into Israel, when they are living there already? 

The Rogechover tells us, that the preparation for a mitzvah is important and makes a difference halachically. Therefore, when a Kohen was carrying the blood of a sacrifice to sprinkle on the altar, he had to have the proper intentions, otherwise the sacrifice was invalid. Carrying it was considered an integral part of the service, even though it was merely a means to an end. 

The same is true when it comes to the preparation of any mitzvah, although it is merely a means to an end, and it is not the main goal, it also has to be done thoroughly and completely. And when you do it that way, your mitzvah will surely be at the highest level. 

Once, when the yeshiva students were with the Rebbe Rashab, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad Lubavitch, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn. He noticed that they were rushing through the song that they would sing in preparation of a Chassidic discourse, it was obvious that they were anxious to get to the teaching. The Rebbe instead, gave an entire teaching, explaining that everything that a Jew does, he should do in a complete way, even if it is only a preparation for something. He also had a saying, "A genuine person, everything that he does, he is totally invested in." In other words, he is in the moment completely, irrespective of what he will be doing later. 

I have noticed, that great craftsmen are obsessed with preparation and rituals. They have a method that they follow and they don't skip steps. They also have a way that they organize their tools and workspace. I guess that's why they are great craftsmen. 

What does it mean to be totally invested in the moment? 

Every person has a soul, and the soul has three ways of expressing itself, thought, speech and action. 

When doing a mitzvah, there are those that are mainly done with one of the three. For example, prayer is mainly done with thought, Torah study is mainly with speech and doing acts of kindness, is mainly through action. But if one invests himself completely, he can use all his faculties, thought, speech and action in every mitzvah. 

And this is true about the preparation of a mitzvah as well. To be totally invested, is to be involved with one's whole self, thought, speech and action. 

The same is true when conquering the land, in order for it to be done right, it has to be complete. If the land isn't completely conquered, if some part of it remains in the hands of the opposition, the land remains incomplete, and there is a danger from the people who are in the unconquered territories. 

The conquering nation also has to take total ownership of the land. Meaning, that they should be able to live the way they want to, the nation has to be able to be themselves in every part of the country. 

The way Hashem set up the world, is that there has to be preparation before an action. This is true about mitzvahs as well as everything else. And the better to the preparation, the better the action or mitzvah that follows. Therefore, one should invest himself totally in the preparation. 

There are sometimes that more effort has to be put into the preparation than into what is being prepared for. For example, education, when it comes to educating our children, or for that matter, most everything one goes to school for, the training is usually more intense, than the actual future that he or she is training for. 

Being that the lottery was part of the preparation for inheriting the land, it had to be done thoroughly and completely, including thought, speech and action. There was already the thought, the intent to do the lottery, and perhaps you can include Elazar's prophecy as thought as well. The action, was the writing and the choosing of the lots. All that was missing was the speech part, by the lots calling out, "I, the lot of such-and-such a region, have become the inheritance to such-and-such a tribe," the preparation was complete, and the commandment, "Only through a lottery should you divide the land," was complete as well. Because it was the actual lot that confirmed with speech, what the division of the land was to be. 

Our purpose is symbolized, in conquering and settling of the land of Israel. To conquer and settle the land means to make it into a Jewish and holy place. A place that Hashem could call home. A home is a place that one is free to be themselves. When a person has ownership of his home, he owns every part of it and he fashions every part of it to reflect his personal taste, it takes on the atmosphere of the owner's preference. 

Our purpose is to make this world into a home for Hashem, that He can be Himself, and that every part of this world, from the highest spiritual realms to the lowest places of the physical world, should be a reflection of Him and His Torah. As Hashem said when he created mankind, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the land and conquer it." Conquering it means to make the whole world, Hashem's home. 

Perhaps this is also true for the land of Israel today. Being that we don't control the entire country and we endure danger and threat from the people in the territories that are not under our control. And even more, being that the Jewish people in Israel are not free to live Jewishly, according to the Torah and under a Torah system of government. Perhaps the idea of, "make this place into Israel," applies to people who live in Israel as well. Because although they are physically there, they do not have the totality of the land. 

According to the preparation, so goes the accomplishment. It is our work now in exile, although it is not ideal, that makes the home for Hashem. It is what brings Moshiach the completion of the purpose of existence. The exile is the preparation and the means to the era of Moshiach. Until he comes, we are in this dark and bitter exile. We have to know that every place that a person finds himself in, is ordained by Hashem, "Hashem establishes the footsteps of man." That means that we have to be invested in the moment. And what we are meant to do in every place until Moshiach comes? We are to make it into a home for Hashem, in other words, "mach da eretz Yisrael," (make this place into Israel). 

You might ask. "I am just one person in one place, how could small little me make a Difference? How can I bring Moshiach?"

When it came to the land of Israel, our sages say, "There is no one of Israel that doesn't have a part in a mountain, the lowland, the south and the valley." Even though a person might have his inheritance on a mountain, it was as if his land was everywhere, because his inheritance completed everybody else's, and his affected everyone else's. The same is with one person's work, in his or her small part of the world. When you invest yourself genuinely and completely in making your place into Israel, you effect every part of existence and you bring redemption to everybody. 

Each and everyone of us can affect the world by using their time, place and abilities to the fullest. What is beyond your abilities, is not meant for you to do. You are only meant to work with what Hashem gives you. 

I see this in my own life. Hashem place me in a very difficult situation and he took away most of my abilities. I am not perfect, but I try my best with the little I have. I learn and write Torah with my ears and eyes, I try my best to lift the spirit of Jewish people with my smile and love. And I have seen how far it reaches. 

You might not see how what you do makes a difference, but it certainly does. And when you give it your all, you will be amazed at the difference you can make. You can make your place into Israel, you can be the one who brings Moshiach. May he come soon.